Statue of Pál Vasvári erected in the garden of the National Museum

Hungarian version of the article: Szobrot állítottak a Múzeumkertben a márciusi ifjak egyik vezéralakjának, Vasvári Pálnak

March 14, 2021 at 11:00 AM

Pál Vasvári was a leading figure in the Youths of March and played an important role in wording the 12 points. As one of the heroes of the War of Independence, he fell in battle in 1849, living only 23 years. A bust in his honour was unveiled in the garden of the National Museum on Saturday.

On Saturday, the first statue of Pál Vasvári in Budapest was unveiled in the Hungarian National Museum's garden, writes the MTI.

At the inauguration of the statue erected by the Pál Vasvári Civic Association, Member of Parliament István Bajkai called commemorating the heroes of 1848–1849 a lasting duty. The youths of the time, realising how close liberty was, brought about justice while upholding national traditions. They were all ready to make sacrifices for modern Hungary, he added. He emphasized that Pál Vasvári was a leading figure of his generation, and he played a role in ensuring the revolution itself did not lead to bloodshed.

Lithograph based on a drawing by Miklós Barabás, portrait of Pál Vasvári (1826–1849) (Source: Piarist Museum, Budapest)

Pál Vasvári considered the protection of national interests to be a non-partisan issue, an idea that is again valid during the pandemic – added the MP. The heirs of Pál Vasvári are, according to Mr Bajkai, those who do not forget the past and recognize those who take away from the Hungarian people but never give anything in return.     

The statue unveiled in the Museum Garden was made by Sándor Tóth, a Mihály Munkácsy Prize-winning sculptor from Szeged, who was born in 1933 and died in 2019.

Pál Vasvári was born in 1826 as Pál Fejér in Tiszabűd (now Tiszavasvári), where his father was a Greek Catholic priest. Not much later, the family moved to Nyírvasvár, hence the name Pál Vasvári. He studied at the Piarist Secondary School in Nagykároly (present-day Carei, Romania), he was tutor to the children of Count József Károlyi throughout his time at school.

The first statue of Pál Vasvári in Budapest in the Hungarian National Museum garden on 13 March 2021. Created by sculptor Sándor Tóth (Photo: MTI/Balázs Mohai)

With the Károlyi family's support, he enrolled at the University of Pest, studied humanities and then law. He was mainly interested in history, and the historian István Horvát had a great effect on him. His articles appeared in Társalkódó, Életképek, Pesti Divatlap. It seemed he had a promising career as a writer. He also began editing the Történeti névtár ('Historical directory'), which he planned to span forty volumes and list the lives and deeds of leading Hungarian figures.

He was a well-known figure before the 1848 revolution. It is clear from his writings published at that time that he had an unparalleled drive. His articles examined how historical events came about. He was preoccupied with guiding ideas and the deeds of great men, Christianity and aristocracy. In 1848 he wrote about the Youths of March and the emancipation of serfs, but he also gave speeches on the freedom of the press. 

The statue stands in the garden of the National Museum (Photo: Balázs Both/pestbuda.hu)

He was a member of the group of youths that gathered in the Pilvax Café. He became one of the leading figures of the Youths of March and played an important role in finalising the 12 points compiled by József Irinyi. He gave speeches in front of university students and at the Town Hall on 15 March.

After the formation of the Batthyány government, he became the secretary of the Minister of Finance, Lajos Kossuth. He took up arms to defend Hungarian freedom in 1848. He fled to Debrecen with the government. In 1849 he became the leader of the troops he recruited in the vicinity of Nagyvárad (now Oradea, Romania). In July 1849, he and his volunteers were sent against Romanian insurgents camping in the Gyalui Mountains (Munții Gilăului) in Transylvania. The men were caught in an ambush, and Vasvári died with about 400 other soldiers. The exact date of his death is unknown. Some sources claim 6 July 1849, others 13 July. His remains were never found.

 Source: MTI, pestbuda.hu

Cover photo: Statue of Pál Vasvári unveiled in the Museum Garden (Photo: MTI / Balázs Mohai)


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